The judges have tasted and the judges have selected the top mustards of the 2016 World-Wide Mustard Competition. This year's Grand Champion is Boetje's "Dutch" Stone Ground Mustard from Rock Island, Illinois.
Held under the direction of National Mustard Museum Curator Barry Levenson, the competition drew nearly 300 entries in eighteen flavor categories from as far away as Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, and Japan. Judges tasted the mustards "blind," not knowing if they were tasting popular international brands or small boutique mustards. Judging took place over a period of several weeks at the Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, where chefs, food writers, restaurateurs, and mustard aficionados gathered to pick the medal winners and the Grand Champion.
Judges tasted sweet-hot, sweet-mild, honey, whole-grain, classic hot, pepper-hot (medium and scorching), horseradish, herb, garlic, fruit, spirit, American yellow, and deli mustards, as well as mustardbased dressings and BBQ sauces. "The competition shows how varied the flavors and style of mustard are," says Barry Levenson. "It proves that that there's more to mustard than yellow, brown, and Dijon. Of course, those classic flavors are always big crowd pleasers every year." Boetje's, the 2016 Grand Champion, won the Gold Medal in the Whole-Grain category and is the first Whole-Grain Gold Medalist to earn the Grand Champion award in the competition's 22 year history.
"Texture was obviously key to Boetje's success," says Levenson, "but what impressed the judges most was the bold bright flavor of the mustard, often Jacking in whole grain mustards."
Made in Rock Island, Illinois, since 1889, Boetje's has been a Quad Cities (Rock Island, Moline, Davenport, and Bettendorf) favorite for generations. Will Kropp, the current owner of Boetje's, continues to make the mustard in the same way as founder Fred Boetje made it, according to the same simple recipe
(consisting of all natural ingredients: mustard seed, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt).
Other winners include French's Classic Yellow in the American Yell ow category, and Beaverton Foods, which took home eight medals (including four Golds in the Sweet-Hot, Horseradish, Hot Pepper and Fruit categories. Mustards from Japan, France, Canada, and Sweden also took home several medals. The nonprofit National Mustard Museum features the world's largest collection of mustards (more than 5,800) and mustard memorabilia. The Museum has coordinated the World-Wide Mustard Competition annually since 1995.